CEO: Romantic Hero Archetype

Melissa Harris-Perry—who is Beautiful, Intelligent, Learned—had a nice segment on her show last weekend. She discusses this idea that a business career is a great (or even) good background for someone becoming the POTUS. It is a good discussion:

One thing that isn’t discussed is an idea that Paul Krugman has been hammering on for years: running the country is totally different from running a business:

For the fact is that running a business is nothing at all like making macro policy. The key point about macroeconomics is the pervasiveness of feedback loops due to the fact that workers are also consumers. No business sells a large fraction of its output to its own workers; even very small countries sell around two-thirds of their output to themselves, because that much is non-tradable services.

This makes a huge difference. A businessman can slash his workforce in half, produce about the same as before, and be considered a big success; an economy that does the same plunges into depression, and ends up not being able to sell its goods. Nothing in business experience prepares one for the paradox of thrift, or even the inflationary impact of increases in the money supply (which is real when the economy isn’t in a liquidity trap.)

The fact is that I understood that when I was child. We Americans are so vested in the romantic hero archetype that we just can’t see the world as it is. And we are paying a very high price for this.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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